July 9th, 2018
The Tánaiste has been urged to use new State powers to revoke An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant planning permission for an incinerator in Cork Harbour once new planning laws enter into force.
The Dáil voted in favour of legislation last Thursday that would grant new powers to the State to overturn planning permission for projects deemed a threat to national security.
Last month, An Bord Pleanála gave the green light to Indaver, a waste management company, to build an incinerator at Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour despite the recommendation of its inspector that permission should not be granted.
The Defence Forces has previously voiced its objection to the incinerator project, arguing that it would prevent helicopters from using naval headquarters at Haulbowline.
Lorna Bogue, the Green Party’s representative for Cork South Central, urged Simon Coveney, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to use his new powers to annul the project.
“Minister Coveney has advised previously that he believes that the incinerator is a threat to the naval base and the Defence Forces provided evidence substantiating this threat to national security at the oral hearing,” Ms Bogue said.
“The incinerator exposes the naval base to dioxins and PCBs, which over time are carcinogenic. The incinerator is placed at the only exit from the naval base and therefore can be targeted, and the incinerator stack impacts on helicopter landings on the base,” Ms Bogue continued.
“There is no question that this planned incinerator is a threat to the security of the state and therefore planning permission under this provision must be revoked.”
Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland recently, the Managing Director of Indaver Ireland, John Ahern, said that the incorrect dioxins figures were provided accidentally in the annex of the environmental impact statement as part of its planning application. “That was corrected as soon as we found it,” he said.
Mary O’Leary, the President of Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE), a Cork-based citizen group that has been campaigning against the project, urged the Irish President, Michael D Higgins, to sign the new legislation so that it may enter into law as soon as possible.
“We hope that if this new legislation provides the potential for exploration that it appears to and subject to the Bill being sent to and signed by the President of Ireland to enter the Statute Book, that it will be pursued alongside the judicial review that we are currently preparing for,” Ms O’Leary said.
Incinerators can cause air pollution by emitting mercury, lead, dioxins and a variety of other toxic substances that invoke asthma and other respiratory ailments.
Indaver has been campaigning to build the multi-million euro waste-to-energy plant since 2001. This was the company’s third application to the board. The proposed incinerator will reportedly turn 240,000 tonnes of rubbish into energy each year.